Miss America’s New Fashion Collection, 1961

For those of you too young to remember Toni, it was a hair care line with the premier product being the Toni Home Permanent.  For years the company had an ad campaign in which identical twins tried to fool you as you guessed, “Which twin had the Toni?”

This 1961 booklet from Toni doesn’t feature twins, but it does have the reining Miss America, Nancy Anne Fleming.  In the early 1960s, the Miss America contest was a very big deal, so it must have been an advertising coup for Toni to have her represent their products.  But it’s not just Toni.  As you can see, McCall’s Patterns and Everglaze Fabrics teamed up for this interesting campaign.

The pattern and sewing machine companies must have been really excited about Fleming being chosen Miss America.  In one of the most original talent presentations ever, Fleming took a rack of clothes she had sewn herself onto the stage, and did a little fashion presentation.   It was like a commercial for home sewing.

And the promotion of sewing by Fleming didn’t stop after she won the coveted crown.  In this booklet, she not only talks about sewing, but also models a collection of eight designs that McCall’s called the Miss America Collection.  Each design was made of Everglaze fabrics, and a new hairdo was designed for each outfit, complete with roller setting instructions.

Some of the outfits and the hair styles are too old for a nineteen-year-old, but others, like the two above show just how youthful early 60s fashion could be.

Do they still refer to Miss America as a “queen” or has that fallen by the wayside?

It’s possible that this booklet was included in specially marked packages of Toni.  In the back there is a coupon for a free pattern from the collection, along with a reminder that “Everglaze fabrics are among America’s favorite cottons.”

After her reign was over and she crowned the 1962 Miss America, Maria Fletcher of Asheville, Fleming used her scholarship to attend Michigan State, where she graduated in 1965.  She was married, had two kids and a career in broadcasting.  She was on an episode of the Love Boat in the 1980s, and married for a second time to Jim Lange, the longtime host of The Dating Game.  Today she lives in California.  I wonder if she still sews.

16 Comments

Filed under Ad Campaign, Curiosities, Vintage Sewing

16 responses to “Miss America’s New Fashion Collection, 1961

  1. Thanks for posting this! I actually remember the 1962 Miss America contest, as a group of us incoming high school seniors watched together. It was a really big deal in those days.

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  2. Yes! I do remember the Toni ads/Miss America contests-HS grad in 65-did the hair get bigger and gowns get smaller by then? The late 50’s contests were the big gowns-gloves.Fun Stuff! Thank You as always!

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  3. Born in Montague, MI where I lived for four years! Nice find.

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  4. That was definitely a cool talent presentation!

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  5. Maybe I’ll try to find out!

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  6. I dated a twin in college and the slogan was the longest joke between us (thus my nickname for a time was Toni).

    I think 1968 was the last time we watched the pageant and didn’t snicker (me, the sister and the pals), but had pretend pageants. I have mixed memories of that….

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  7. That long dress with culottes! (McCalls, 5760)

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  8. I so remember the 1960’s hair styles, and the diagrams on how to roll them that appeared in the magazines. I had hair that was easy to curl, and tried many of the rolling diagrams. I think they were all variations of the “bubble” if I remember right.

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